Catching Contentment By Liz Carter - Book Club Discussion

Posted at 17:45pm on 15th March 2019

I first heard of Liz Carter’s book, Catching Contentment, when I read, somewhere, that she had suffered a lifelong illness.  Instantly, that resonated with me.  Having undergone a similar experience, myself, I felt a closeness with Liz that belied the fact that we had never met, nor communicated in any way.  Full of enthusiasm, I asked my Book Club if this might be our next read.

The cover and title bowled me away, the uncluttered simplicity of a pastel-coloured feather falling against a white background, conveying exactly what it says in the strapline: How to be holy satisfied.  Likewise, the message Liz delivers.  So much of what she has to say equates to my own thoughts and inspiration.  And I wasn’t alone.

‘Well - what did you think of the book?’ I asked when we met yesterday evening.

Loved it!’ they enthused.

While one lady added: ‘But it did make me feel my faith was inadequate.’

CONFIDENT CONTENTMENT

Having had the pleasure of meeting the author, Liz, at a conference shortly before the Book Club event, I can vouch for the fact that the faith she conveys in the content of her book, is very evident to see in her person.  She radiates the love of God!

‘We don’t need to find ourselves because we’re already found,’ she writes.

Immediately, I recalled my childhood, when an undiagnosed illness that had me screaming in pain at times, gave me the feeling that I was unloved and unlovable.  It was only as a 13 year old, when I retrieved a beautiful, delicate cross and chain from a soggy piece of paper in the birthday cake my mother had made for me, that I realised that I was as precious to God as that gift was to me.

Nevertheless, as Liz portrays, there are times when we hide behind a mask, responding ‘I’m fine’ rather than admit to illness.  And others when we may feel we’re letting people down when they pray for us and we remain unhealed.  And yet more when Job’s comforters convey a message that it’s our lack of faith that is at fault.

COURAGEOUS CONTENTMENT

Writing of the exasperation of having to wait, Liz points out that we can forget to look for God.  ‘Waiting is not sleeping,’ she writes.  ‘It’s active.’  So is contentment something that simply happens?  No!  As Paul says in Philippians 4:12, he has learned to be content.  Contentment is the result only when we put Christ first.  It is, therefore, an active choice.

Again, this matter of waiting resonated with me.  Recalling the abusive nature of my first marriage, I told the group how I’d prayed for 15 years for the survival of my relationship with my husband.  It was only when I handed my marriage over to God and allowed his will to be made manifest, that I came to a place of peace.

Quoting Catherine Campbell – a lovely lady I have met at conferences – Liz tells her story.  Despite losing two of her daughters as children, due to congenital diseases, Catherine sees contentment as an attitude of heart.  God is with us when we suffer, not if!  He is with us through the storm.

What would happen, we asked each other, if God answered all prayers for healing?

‘It would be like a gravy train,’ said one member of my group.

‘People would jump on board just to have their needs met,’ said another.  ‘Faith would cease to relevant.’

CAPTIVATED CONTENTMENT

Later, quoting C.S.Lewis, Liz writes about his attitude towards praise while an atheist, and how that changed when he came to faith.  Realising that praising God was neither self-serving arrogance on the part of the Lord, nor merely an act of obedience in his followers, he discovered the joy of doing so, describing it as ‘Drunk with, drowned in, dissolved by that delight.’  This, says Liz, is what being captivated by contentment is all about.

We all identified with that, sharing with one another the sense of rapture we feel when thrilling at the sight of God’s creation, the shape of trees, the stunning sunsets, dew on spiders’ webs, white fluffy clouds.  But even in dark times, says Liz, we are captivated by God!  And it is in surrendering to that captivity that we find contentment.  As did Fanny Crosby who, born blind, went on to write such wonderful hymns as Gracious Submission – the delight and wonder of which evoked much discussion amongst us.

CONTAGIOUS CONTENTMENT

Jill Saward, a woman I knew personally, was raped in her father’s vicarage, while he and her boyfriend were held at knifepoint.  Despite this terrible experience, she was a wonderful example of what it is to forgive. Forgiveness, she said when interviewed by a newspaper, is a choice, and she went on to help many others faced with a similar experience. 

This led to a lively discussion amongst the Book Club members.  Should we keep quiet about the way in which God helps us to change the world for better?  Or should we speak out?  ‘Are we shining lights?  Or are we dimmer switches?’ asks Liz.

‘I feel pride in what God uses me to do,’ said one lady.  ‘Is that wrong?’

‘I can’t think it’s wrong to tell others how God has used us to make a difference to others,’ I replied.  ‘After all, we’re only the tool through which he makes that difference.  He’s the one who does the work, and he's the one we’re seeking to glorify.  If we don’t speak up about the way he uses us – well, no one would know how God is working today.  As Glynn Harrison says in his book, we need to tell A Better Story so others can catch on.

Our purpose, Liz concludes, is to glorify God in all we do.  And she likens catching contentment to the effort made by a cricketer trying to catch a ball: ' . . . arms outstretched, hands held out . . . holding it close.'

Thank you Liz, for the confident and courageous way in which you have caught contentment, despite your ongoing illness.  And thank you for the captivating way in which you convey it - with such a contagious manner that we'll all be catching contentment.

Here's Liz's guest blog about her book, and Thomas's story about how The Prince's Trust helped him.

                                                                          ~~~ooo~~~

Liz's statement that our purpose is to glorify God really resonates with me.  My own book, published only ten days ago, is titled Picked for a Purpose, and aims to show the ways in which we might all be used to glorify God. 

Mel writes with honesty and openness, and her words are laced with hope: we are ordinary, but not useless, lonely, but never alone. Read this book and find hope rather than cliches, substance rather than slogans. Highly recommended.  Jeff Lucas, Author, International Speaker, Broadcaster 
ALL proceeds are to be donated to The Prince's Trust, a charity set up by Prince Charles in 1976, which empowered 58,000 young people last year alone!

PLEASE GO TO MY BOOK PAGE TO ORDER A COPY SO THAT ALL THE MONEY COLLECTED CAN GO TO THE CHARITY.

 

 

 

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